X Factor star Joseph Whelan helped young people in care celebrate their talents at a special showcase in Wolverhampton on Friday night (21 February, 2014).

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He joined hundreds of looked after children for the Grand L'ACademy Awards, the new name for the annual Achieve Your Dreams showcase which took place at The Grand Station.

And he gave them a very special acoustic performance as they collected awards in a range of categories which highlighted their hard work and achievements over the last 12 months.

Sarah Norman, Wolverhampton City Council's Strategic Director for Community, said: "The Grand L'ACademy Awards are a great way we can encourage looked after children in the city to aim high, and celebrate their hard work.

"They were recognised for a wide range of achievements, from doing well at school to getting involved in their community, and also the achievements of those who have left care and are taking the next steps in their lives.

"We were delighted that Joseph Whelan was on hand to reward the young people with an acoustic performance which was enjoyed by the whole audience.

L'ACademy Awards were up for grabs in 3 categories. The Academic Award recognised the achievements of young people in primary, secondary or further education, while the Personal Achievement Award was given to children who have made positive changes in the last 12 months. The Positive Transition Award celebrated young people who have successfully made the transition from care into their adult lives.

Meanwhile, John Welsby, the city council's Assistant Director for Children, Young People and Families, presented Outstanding Achievement Awards to 3 young people who excelled in a number of areas and overcame barriers despite their personal circumstances.

In all, more than 450 children and young people were invited to collect awards at the event, which also included music and dance performances by talented young people.

Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, was among the audience at The Grand Station and said: "I enjoyed hearing some fantastic stories of achievement of our young people and being able to recognise the invaluable support of their carers which has enabled them to achieve in many different ways.

"I am delighted that this year's event has celebrated so many of our inspirational young people."

  • released: Tuesday 25 February, 2014